Chapter

Chick Webb (1907–1939)

Chick Webb

in Drumminʼ Men

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780195157628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849468 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157628.003.0002
Chick Webb (1907–1939)

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Chick Webb turned things upside down in the Depression-ridden 1930s. He was the guy everyone went to hear and to watch. A truly dramatic figure, he deeply influenced musicians and excited fans. Opening the door to a new place in drumming, he made use of previously undiscovered or disregarded techniques, bringing into focus ways and means to make the instrument a telling source of strength and graphic comment. He redefined ideas concerning rhythm and syncopation. He brought rudimentary/military drumming into a highly compatible relationship with straight-ahead, swinging jazz. With the help of his great instincts, he made playing with a big band a craft filled with artful subtleties. Calling on his unusual facility, and combining it with a super talent, Webb moved jazz drumming along as no one had before him. He created an entirely new view of what drums were all about in a jazz context.

Keywords: Chick Webb; jazz drumming; Little Chick; Ella Fitzgerald; Decca

Chapter.  13388 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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